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1999 U.S. Open Cup Kicks Off Saturday in Wilmington, Ma. as Battle for Dewar Cup Begins


CHICAGO (Saturday, June 5, 1999) - The 1999 U.S. Open Cup will kick off Saturday when amateur qualifier Los Lobos of Tulsa, Okla. (Region III) travel to Wilmington to battle the D3 Pro League's Wilmington Hammerheads. The final 32-team U.S. Open Cup field is comprised of eight teams each from Major League Soccer, the A-League and the D3 Pro League, as well as four teams each from the Premier Development League and the U.S. Amateur Soccer Association.

After opening qualifying play back in March with 146 teams across the United States, the final Open Cup berth was decided last night when the Milwaukee Rampage lost 4-2 at the New Orleans Storm, giving the Orange County Zodiac the eighth and final A-League position in the 1999 tournament.

The 1999 U.S. Open Cup first round is scheduled through June 20 and will match-up eight qualifiers from the D3 Pro League against four PDL and four USASA qualifiers. The first round winners will then be drawn against eight A-League qualifiers, who join the U.S. Open Cup in the second round. The eight MLS competitors will enter the tournament in the third round.

Dating back to 1914, the U.S. Open Cup is the oldest cup competition in United States soccer and is among the oldest in the world. Open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States, the annual U.S. Open Cup is an 86-year-old single-elimination tournament based on similar competitions played across the world concurrent with domestic league action.

The brackets for the first three rounds of the tournament will be solidified next week, helping each team chart their course into the quarterfinals, at which time a draw will be conducted to determine the pairings among the Open Cup's final eight competitors. Played under FIFA rules, each Open Cup match will finish with a winner, with tie games going into 30 minutes of sudden death overtime, and then to penalty kicks, if needed.

The 1999 U.S. Open Cup final is scheduled for the newly-constructed Columbus Crew Stadium on September 14 and will be televised live at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN for the first time in the annual tournament's history. For ticket information, contact the Columbus Crew at 614/221-2739.

1998 U.S. OPEN CUP SCHEDULE
First Round
Date The Match-Ups Kickoff
June 5 Los Lobos (USASA III) at Wilmington Hammerheads (D3) 7:30 p.m. ET
June 8 Austin Lone Stars (D3) at Mid-Michigan Bucks (PDL) 6:30 p.m. CT
June 9 New York Freedom (PDL) at Cape Cod Crusaders (D3) 7:30 p.m. ET
June 9 United German Hungarians (USASA I) at New Jersey Stallions (D3) 7:30 p.m. ET
June 11 Mexico SC (USASA IV) at Arizona Sahuaros (D3) TBD
June 16 Spokane Shadow (PDL) at Chico Rooks (D3) 8:00 p.m. PT
June 20 Bavarian Leinenkugel (USASA II) at Carolina Dynamo (D3) TBD
TBD Cocoa Express (PDL) at N. Virginia Royals (D3) TBD

TEAMS ASSIGNED OPEN CUP RANKINGS FOR FIRST TIME: For the first time in the tournament's 86-year history, qualified teams for the 1999 U.S. Open Cup have been ranked from 1 to 32 to assist fans and media in gauging a team's success. The rankings are based on each team's regular season standing at the conclusion of their respective leagues qualifying play (approximately June 1, 1999). Each team is also ranked according to the league in which they play, meaning Major League Soccer teams are ranked from 1 to 8 as the top division in the competition. The Division II A-League's clubs are ranked 9 to 16, with the D3 Pro League teams following them from 17 to 24. The amateur teams in the competition round out the rankings from 25 to 32. Team rankings do not affect team pairings or home field advantage, they are only meant to serve the media and fans in comparing team strengths.

Seed Team League How Qualified Enter Tournament
1 Colorado Rapids MLS Defeated Kansas City 2-1 (so) on April 17, 1999 3rd round
2 Chicago Fire MLS 1998 U.S. Open Cup champion 3rd round
3 D.C. United MLS 1996 U.S. Open Cup champion 3rd round
4 Columbus Crew MLS 1998 U.S. Open Cup finalist 3rd round
5 Dallas Burn MLS 1997 U.S. Open Cup champion 3rd round
6 Tampa Bay Mutiny MLS Defeated L.A. Galaxy 1-0 (so) on May 15, 1999 3rd round
7 Los Angeles Galaxy MLS Best record of three "play-in game" losers on June 1, 1999 3rd round
8 NY/NJ MetroStars MLS Defeated Miami Fusion 3-2 on May 15, 1999 3rd round
9 Rochester Raging Rhinos A-League Earned one of four Eastern Conf. spots with 18 points 2nd round
10 San Diego Flash A-League Clinched top six spot w/21 points after six games 2nd round
11 Staten Island Vipers A-League Earned one of four Eastern Conf. spots with 18 points 2nd round
12 Minnesota Thunder A-League Earned second of four Western Conf. spots with 18 points 2nd round
13 Charleston Battery A-League Earned top Eastern Conference spot with 23 points 2nd round
14 Seattle Sounders A-League Earned one of four Western Conf. spots 2nd round
15 Jacksonville Cyclones A-League Earned one of four Eastern Conf. spots with 18 points 2nd round
16 Orange County Zodiac A-League Earned final Eastern Conference spot with 16 points 2nd round
17 Wilmington Hammerheads D3 Pro Won Atlantic Group with 13 points 1st round
18 Northern Virginia Royals D3 Pro Won Mid-Atlantic Group with 13 points 1st round
19 Arizona Sahuaros D3 Pro Earned one of two wild card spots with 13 points 1st round
20 Chico Rooks D3 Pro Won Pacific West Group with 17 points 1st round
21 Cape Cod Crusaders D3 Pro Won New England Group with 11 points 1st round
22 Austin Lone Stars D3 Pro Won South Central Group with 13 points 1st round
23 New Jersey Stallions D3 Pro Won Northeast Group with 18 points 1st round
24 Carolina Dynamo D3 Pro Earned second of two wild card spots with 13 points 1st round
25 Mid Michigan Bucks PDL Won Central Conference with 19 points 1st round
26 Spokane Shadow PDL Won the Western Conference with 14 points 1st round
27 Cocoa Expos PDL Won Eastern Conference with 19 points 1st round
28 New York Freedoms PDL Earned only wild card spot with 18 points 1st round
29 United German-Hungarians USASA Won Region I qualifying; team is from Horsham, Pa. 1st round
30 Los Lobos USASA Won Region III qualifying; team is from Tusla, Okla. 1st round
31 Mexico S.C. USASA Won Region IV qualifying; team is from Fresno, Calif. 1st round
32 Bavarian Leinenkugel USASA Won Region II qualifying; team is from Milwaukee, Wisc. 1st round

www.us-soccer.com FOR U.S. OPEN CUP UPDATES: U.S. Soccer has redesigned their web page for the 1999 U.S. Open Cup. New features on the site include final recaps on qualifying procedures and standings for each division in the competition; a "Match of the Week" preview, tuning you into key games during the tournament; and a list of the 10 best Open Cup games since the participation of MLS. In addition, U.S. Soccer have match reports and/or live on-line updates for all non-televised matches. For the latest on the tournament, go to www.us-soccer.com and click on the U.S. Open Cup icon.

1999 U.S. Open Cup First Round Match Previews

29-German Hungarians (USASA) vs. 23-New Jersey Stallions (D3): The United German Hungarians averaged an amazing five goals per game during the quarters, semis, and regional finals, winning 4-2, 5-3, and a stunning 6-0 in the championship match. They also had the longest qualifying process of any other USASA team in the Open Cup. The New Jersey Stallions, 2-2 with seven points in D3 Pro League play, cruised through their Open Cup qualifying by tallying a 4-0 record and a league-leading 18 points to earn the berth in the D3's Northeast Division.

26-Spokane Shadow (PDL) vs. 20-Chico Rooks (D3): The Spokane Shadow are 2-1 with 8 points in league play and tied for first in the Premier Development League's Northwest Division, advance for the first time with a 4-0 record in Open Cup qualifying, with two wins coming from shoot-outs. The Chico Rooks' 4-0 start has earned them the winning bid in the Pacific West Division of the D3 with 17 points. The Rooks are 3-3 in league play with 15 points in the West.

31-Mexico SC (USASA) vs. 19-Arizona Sahuaros (D3): Mexico SC has the strangest qualifying story of 1999. In a California-North qualifier, Mexico SC actually lost to the Fresno Dragons, which put them out of the cup. When the Fresno team folded, Mexico SC took their place in the regional championship. They needed penalties to beat the Colorado Springs Brewmen in the semis, and then defeated Atotonilco, the Cal-South representative, 2-1 in an all-California final. The Arizona Sahuaros, who lead the West Conference of the D3 Pro League with a 7-2 record and 32 points, have earned a wildcard spot in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup by tallying 13 points in a tough Pacific West Division.

25-Mid Michigan Bucks (PDL) vs. 22-Austin Lone Stars (D3): The Mid Michigan Bucks are the only Premier Development League entrant into this year's U.S. Open Cup tournament to have previously advanced, having played in the first round for the first time in 1997. They upset the D3's Wilmington Hammerheads, 3- 2, before losing in the second round to the A-League's Rochester Raging Rhinos, 3-2 in overtime. Mid Michigan qualified this year by earning 19 of 20 possible points. Austin, 1-2 with 6 points in the D3 Pro League's West Conference, is the only D3 team to qualify every year for the U.S. Open Cup in the three-year Open Cup history including the D3 Pro League. Austin went 3-1 in Open Cup qualifying, with their only loss coming in a shootout against the Texas Toros.

27-Cocoa Expos (PDL) vs. 18-Northern Virginia Royals (D3): The Cocoa Expos advance to the first round for the first time, coming off four decisive wins in Open Cup qualifying play. The Expos, 2-2 with eight points in league play for the PDL's Southeast Division, won 4-1, 3-0, 7-1 and 1-0 against their opponents during the qualifying round. After a disappointing 6-12 season in 1998, the D3's Northern Virginia Royals have earned an Open Cup berth from the Mid-Atlantic Division, while remaining unbeaten in league play with a 3-0 record and 12 points.

30-Los Lobos (USASA) vs. 17-Wilmington Hammerheads (D3): Since the inclusion of MLS in 1996, Los Lobos has the unique distinction of being the only USASA amateur team to qualify for the Open Cup in three consecutive years, but they have failed to reach Round 2 in any of the three years. Los Lobos also had the easiest qualification procedure of any team in the Open Cup, having to win only two games to qualify. The Atlantic Division of the D3 Pro League proved to be the toughest, as Wilmington, Carolina and Charlotte all finished with 13 points. Wilmington, 3-0 with 13 points in league play to lead the Atlantic Conference, won the Open Cup berth on head-to-head points, to advance to the first round for the second time.

28-New York Freedoms (PDL) vs. 21-Cape Cod Crusaders (D3): The New York Freedoms lead the Northeast Division of the Premier Development League with a 2-1 record and 10 points, qualifying for the U.S. Open Cup for the first time by earning a wild-card berth off a 4-0 record and 18 points. After a hard-earned 2-1 overtime victory over Rhode Island, the Crusaders, 1-1 with five points in the D3 Pro League's North Conference, earned the Open Cup berth from the New England Division, their first in the team's six-year history.

32-Bavarians Leinenkugel (USASA) vs. 24-Carolina Dynamo (D3): Unlike the German Hungarians, the Bavarians bit and scratched their way into the Open Cup. They defeated fellow Wisconsinites Mequon United and the Milwaukee Kickers to advance to the regionals, where they downed Illinois' Schwaben SC 2-0. The final pitted them against PNA of Missouri, who dominated most of the match, but the Bavarians stole a victory, 2-1. After a tight race in the Atlantic Division, the Carolina Dynamo, 1-2 with four points in the D3 Pro League's Atlantic Conference, walk away with a wild-card berth in Open Cup qualifying.


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